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When you place your elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home or any other long-term care facility, you expect they will receive optimal support and attention. You should certainly never have to worry about another resident harming your loved one, but these types of incidents are shockingly common. If you have reason to believe another resident is hurting your loved one, it is time to speak to a lawyer.
At the Harvey & Foote Law Firm, we frequently represent clients in matters involving abuse by other nursing home residents throughout New Mexico. Having handled thousands of cases, our experienced lawyers understand how to ascertain liability, maximize the value of your claim, and hold responsible parties accountable. We are sensitive to the consequences of these difficult situations and are committed to securing justice.
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How Common Is Abuse Between Nursing Home Residents in New Mexico?
Many people do not understand the alarming frequency of abuse that occurs in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities. Millions of older adults experience some form of elder abuse each year, and many more cases go unreported.
Though we may assume facility staff members perpetrate practically all the abuse that happens in nursing homes, the truth is more complicated. As difficult as it can be to accept, other residents may be responsible for the abuse. In a 2018 study conducted by the National Center for Victims of Crime, almost 25% of reported incidents of abuse were considered “resident-on-resident” cases. In other words, if you suspect your elderly loved one may be suffering abuse, you cannot rule out the possibility that another resident is to blame.
What Kinds of Abuse Can Occur Between Nursing Home Residents Occur in New Mexico?
Resident-on-resident abuse can take one of several forms. In some scenarios, the abuse will be a conscious, deliberate act. In other cases, an abusive resident may be suffering from dementia or another condition that limits their mental faculties. This does not excuse or justify their behavior, as all nursing home residents deserve a safe environment free of abuse.
Examples of resident-on-resident abuse include:
- Verbal harassment (including threats)
- Physical abuse (including hitting, pushing, and shoving)
- Unwanted sexual advances or touching
- Invasion of personal space
- Using personal property without permission
- Stealing personal property
- Destroying personal property
Who Is Responsible for Abuse Perpetrated by Another Nursing Home Resident in New Mexico?
The facility has a legal responsibility to stop abuse by other nursing home residents. They owe all residents, including your loved one, a duty of care. This means they are obligated to provide a safe environment to residents and take reasonable steps to stop all types of abuse.
Put another way, a New Mexico nursing home can become liable for the actions of one of its residents if they did not take adequate measures to detect, address, and prevent abusive behavior. A nursing home might violate its duty of care to its residents by understaffing the facility, failing to adequately monitor the behavior of residents, or failing to investigate reports of resident-on-resident abuse. Some nursing home administrators avoid reporting reports of resident-on-resident abuse to the appropriate authorities in the hopes of avoiding controversy and bad press.
Depending on the circumstances, you may also be able to take legal action against other responsible parties, including the resident who harmed your loved one as well as any individual staff member who knew or reasonably should have known about the resident-on-resident abuse but failed to act. We can help determine who is responsible in your specific case.
How Can an Attorney Help with Nursing Home Abuse Perpetrated by Another Resident?
A single instance of abusive behavior may not make a nursing home liable if the facility appropriately handles the situation. If your loved one complained about resident-on-resident abuse and their pleas for help were ignored by the nursing home’s staff, however, you may have a case.
Do not wait to speak to a legal professional if you suspect any kind of abuse, even if you are unsure if the nursing home (or anyone else) is liable. Our lawyers at the Harvey & Foote Law Firm can assess your circumstances and walk you through your legal options.
If we think you have a case, we can help you get your loved one to safety and formally report the abuse. Then, we will work to recover compensation for damages. Though we will always work to deliver a favorable outcome as quickly as possible, we are also not afraid to go to trial.
Our attorneys will work to secure maximum compensation for all losses, including:
- Past, current, and future medical bills resulting from the abuse
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
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